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J Phys Condens Matter. 2010 May 19;22(19):194112. doi: 10.1088/0953-8984/22/19/194112. Epub 2010 Apr 26.

Modeling cytoskeletal flow over adhesion sites: competition between stochastic bond dynamics and intracellular relaxation.

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Bioquant, University of Heidelberg, Heidelberg, Germany.


In migrating cells, retrograde flow of the actin cytoskeleton is related to traction at adhesion sites located at the base of the lamellipodium. The coupling between the moving cytoskeleton and the stationary adhesions is mediated by the continuous association and dissociation of molecular bonds. We introduce a simple model for the competition between the stochastic dynamics of elastic bonds at the moving interface and relaxation within the moving actin cytoskeleton represented by an internal viscous friction coefficient. Using exact stochastic simulations and an analytical mean field theory, we show that the stochastic bond dynamics lead to biphasic friction laws as observed experimentally. At low internal dissipation, stochastic bond dynamics lead to a regime of irregular stick-and-slip motion. High internal dissipation effectively suppresses cooperative effects among bonds and hence stabilizes the adhesion.

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